[Photo: Liu Weibin/Xinhua News Agency]
On the morning of April 12, local time, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang addressed, together with 16 CEEC leaders, the opening ceremony of the 9th China-CEEC Business Forum in Dubrovnik, Croatia, according to Xinhua.
As an integral part of the China-CEEC leaders’ meeting, the business forum has become an important platform for win-win cooperation between the two sides. The forum was attended by more than 1,000 people, including Chinese and foreign entrepreneurs and government officials in the fields of commerce, trade, investment, innovation, tourism and infrastructure.
In his speech, Premier Li Keqiang said that China-CEEC (16+1) cooperation has been growing and revitalizing with a strong momentum. This is largely attributed to the strong and expanding business ties. In 2018, China’s trade with the CEE countries increased by 21 percent, hitting a record high. New steps have been taken in cooperation in third-party markets and China-CEEC cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has made new strides, as seen in greater headway in infrastructure connectivity. Subnational cooperation continues to deepen and there have been more frequent people-to-people and cultural exchanges. With over 6,000 new freight train services opened between China and Europe last year and the steady development of China-Europe Land Sea Express Line, CEE countries are poised to play a bigger role as gateways between Asia and Europe.
Capt. Xu Lirong, Chairman of COSCO SHIPPING, attended the opening ceremony and met with Executive Director of Rijeka Port Authority Denis Vukorepa and CEO of Adriatic Gate Rijeka Container Terminal Wojciech Szymulewicz on the sidelines of the forum. Executives from COSCO SHIPPING Europe accompanied Capt. Xu in the activities. During his stay in Croatia, Capt. Xu also convened a special session on COSCO SHIPPING’s operations in Croatia.
Before arriving in Croatia, Capt. Xu led a delegation to visit Chinese Ambassador to the Czech Republic Mr. Zhang Jianmin and exchanged views with him on COSCO SHIPPING’s operations in the Czech Republic. During his visit to the Czech Republic, Capt. Xu presided over a special meeting on the China-Europe Land-Sea Express Line. They studied ways to further play the pivotal role of the Port of Piraeus, tap into the advantages of the China-Europe Land-Sea Express Line and build a service corridor between Piraeus and Central and Eastern Europe to comprehensively improve customer experience. Heads of COSCO SHIPPING Lines, COSCO SHIPPING Logistics, COSCO SHIPPING Europe, Piraeus Port Authority S. A. and OceanRail Logistics S.A. were also present at the meeting. After the meeting, Capt. Xu and his delegation members made a field trip to local company and greeted the employees.
So far, COSCO SHIPPING has set up four wholly-owned and holding companies in the 16 CEE countries, which are engaged in container and bulk cargo transportation. The China-Europe Land-Sea Express Line, which takes the Greek Port of Piraeus as the pivot, is a new sea-rail intermodal transport corridor throughout Asia and Europe. The Express Line stretches from the Port of Piraeus in the south to Budapest (Hungary) in the north through nine countries, directly involving a population of more than 71 million. It offers end-to-end transportation services from areas along China’s Yangtze River, North China, East China, South China as well as regions such as Southeast Asia, South Asia and the Middle East to nine CEE countries, including Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, Austria and the Czech Republic.